those who had been hurt. we are grateful to them. [ applause ] >> the president: these men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle. they remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. heroism is here. in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, all around us, just waiting to be
summoned. as it was on saturday morning. their actions, their selfless, poses a challenge to each of us, it raises the question of what beyond prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward? how can we honor the fallen? how can we be true to their memory? you see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations. to try to impose some order on the case .
and make sense out of that which seems senseless. already, we've seen a national conversation commence. not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health system. much of this process, debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-governing. but, at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that
ails the world, at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do, it is important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we're talking with each other in a way that heals. not in a way that wounds. [ applause ] >> the president: scripture tells us that there is evil in the world. and terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. in the words of job, when i looked for light, then came darkness. bad things happen.
we have to guard simple explanations in the aftermath. the truth is, none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. none of us can know with any certainty, what might have stopped these shots from being fired or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind. yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. we cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. we should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. [ applause ]
>> the president: but what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. [ applause ] >> the president: that we cannot do! [ applause ] >> the president: that we cannot do. as we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame. let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations. to listen to each other more carefully.
to sharpen our instincts for empathy. and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together. [ applause ] >> the president: after all, that's what most of us do when we lose somebody in our family. especially if the loss is unexpected. we're shaken out of our routines. we're forced to look inward. we reflect on the past. did we spend enough time with an aging parent we wonder? did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us? did we tell a spouse, just how desperately we love them?
not just once in a while, but every single day. so some lossz backward. but it also forces us to look forward. toll reflect on the present and the -- to reflect on the present and the future. on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. [ applause ] >> the president: we may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives? perhaps, we question whether we're doing right by our children or our community? whether our priorities are in
order? we recognize our own mortality. and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth or status or power or fame, but rather how well we have loved. and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better! [ applause ] >> the president: that process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions, that i believe is what a tragedy like this
requires. for those who were harmed, those who were killed, they are part of our family. an american family, 300 million strong! [ applause ] >> the president: we may not have known them personally, but surely we see ourselves in them.,m÷tb in george, in dot in dorwin and mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. phyllis, she's our mom or our grandma. gabe, our brother or son. in judge roll, we recognize
not only a man who prized his family in doing his job well, but also a man who embodied america's fidelity to the law. in gabby we see a reflection of our public spiritedness. that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and neverending process to form a more perfect union. [ applause ] >> the president: and in christina, we see all of our children. so curious, so trusting, so
energetic, so full of magic, so deserving of our love and so deserving of our good example. if this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. [ applause ] >> the president: let's make sure it is not on the usual plane of politics, point scoring and pettiness that difficulties away in the next news cycle. the loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better. to be better in our private
lives. to be better friends, neighbors and co-workers and parents. and if, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helps usher in more civility in our public discourse, let us a remember, it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, it did not. but rather because, only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation, in a way that would make them proud. [ applause ]
>> the president: we should be civil because we want to live up to the example of public servants like john roll and gabby giffords who knew first and foremost that we are all americans and we can question each other's ideas without questioning each other's will have of country. and our task working together is to constantly widen the circle of our concern. so we be -- bequeath the american dream to future generations. [ applause ] >> the president: they believe and i believe, that we can be better.
those who died here, those who saved lives here, they help me believe. we may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but i know that how we treat one another, that's entirely up to us. [ applause ] >> the president: and i beef that for all our imperfections, wuerffel of decency and -- we are full of decency and goodness and the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us. that's what i believe. in part, because that's what i child like christina-taylor green believed.
imagine for a moment, here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy. just beginning to under stand the obligations of citizenship. just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. she had been elected to her student council. she saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. she was off to meet her congresswoman someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. she saw all this through the eyes of a child. undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.
[ cheers ] [ applause ] >> the president: as already been mentioned, christina was given us to on september 11th, 2001. one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called "faces of hope." on either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child's life. i hope you help those in need. read one.
>> i also thank all of the speakers here tonight. as well as all of the federal, state and local leaders who have come tonight to lend their support. we have heard many, many inspirational thoughts from our distinguished guests. at this time, i invite everyone here at center and those watching in tucson and around the nation to join together in a moment of silence which will be followed by a musical selection. join me please in a moment of silence.
. [ applause ] >> i now conclude the program tonight by reading a poem that was written by ws merwin the current poet laureate of the united states of america. he has a long history with the poetry center here at the university of arizona.4xi [ applause ] >> the poem is entitled, "to the new year." with what stillness at last you appear in the valley, your first sunlight, reaching down to touch the tips of a few high leaves that do not stir
as though they have not noticed and did not know you at all. then, the voice of a dove calls, from the far away, in itself too hush of morning. so this is the sound of you, here and now, whether or not anyone hears it, this is where we have come with our age. our knowledge, such as it is, and our hopes, such as they are, invisible before us. untouched and still possible.
[ applause ] >> thank you for coming. and good night to everyone. [ applause ] >> that concludes the memorial service at the university of arizona mckale center that entitled together we thrive, tucson and america. as you look at president obama speaking to retired supreme court justice sandra day o'connor, next to her current supreme court justice anthony kennedy who is presiding over the 9th circuit that is why he is there because federal judge john roll was killed in this attack. president obama began his remarks by saying there is nothing that he could say that would fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. the president quoted scripture,
psalms 46 he called the congress on your corner event a quintessential american scene shattered by a gunman's bullets. the president detailed the stories of the amazing acts, final moments of some of those who were killed who shielded others and the first responders. the president shared stories about all of the six who were killed, including federal judge john roll and 9-year-old christina-taylor green. the president announced soon after his visit tonight to the bedside of congresswoman giffords, her husband said she oned her eyes for the first time. the president did talk about the national conversation following the shooting, saying it is important to talk with each other in a way that heals not in a way that wounds. seeming to directly address those who jump to conclusions about the motive of the
shooter. the president said, bad things happen and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath. he said the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us. the president concluded by saying the nation can live up to 9-year-old christina green's expectations. newly elected student councilmember who saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. as the president shakes hands with some of the people there at the mckale center, let's rejoin our panel. brit hume, chris wallace and charles krauthammer. charles? >> i thought the president's speech was a remarkable display of oratory and/ororial skill in terms of the tone and content entitle tone, the president faced a very difficult problem, not of his making. the audience most lie students, was reacting with a lot of cheers and yells, in what was
supposed to be a solemn memorial service and in a time of great suffering and grief. when the president walked in with mrs. obama, and was cheered, he looked rather ill at ease, because it felt, i think inappropriate. i think he felt it and many of us watching, i think did. then when the president began his speech there was cheering in places that was certainly odd. when he recalled one of the dead and he mentioned those who were -- would follow after him, including the parents, children and fiance he would never marry, there was a expression of cheers, which was odd. the president to the moment you mentioned. the one which is not in the prepared text, because it occurred after the text had been prepared. in which he said, and then gabby opened her eyes. he repeated it. that of course anybody watching or listening felt a lift in their heart, as did the students in the audience.
and the cheers at that instant were genuine, they were welcome and they were appropriate. the president very skillfully then in the second half of his speech, which was about inspiration, which was about the good that would emerge from here, in the -- and those cheers and applause which at the beginning had been inappropriate. i think it lent energy and strength to his speech. i think he did it in a very skillful way. if i could add one comment on the content. i think you were right he did in a way distance himself and offer a critique of those who had used the occasion to attack others. he spoke about civil discourse but not he say the way the left and those who have attacked said. because there isn't connection between our discourse and the event but as a way to honor the dead and particularly the innocence and the hopes and
idealism of the young girl who died. i thought that was a brilliant rhetorical approach. it was a very interesting and successful way of advocating a civil discourse without endorsing those on the left who were talking about uncivil discourse as a cause of this event. >> as the president meets with some at the center, chris wallace, your thoughts? >> today i reread president reagan's speech after the challenger disaster of 1986, bill clinton's speech after oklahoma city and george w. bush's speech after 9/11. what joined them all, they were consoling. they had faith references to faith and to god. and they were brief. this president followed in that tradition on terms of being consoling to the people who suffered so much pain and loss. the he vocation of faith. he did not have the power of
briefy. his speech was literally three times as long as reagan's and twice as long as clinton's and bushes. having said that, i agree with charles. i think its with a very powerful speech. clearly, the most powerful moment was when he talked about the fact, as you say, gabby opened her eyes for the first time and picture we saw was mrs. obama holding, clutching the hand of the husband of gabby giffords, mark kelly the astronaut. that was the emotional high point. it was a memorial service. and the president paid due tribute to the victims. those who had lost their lives and those who are fighting for their lives in the hospital, also to the heroes who prevented even more killing. but i thought it was very interesting that beyond the focus on gabby giffords, his focus at the end of the speech on christina-taylor green that extraordinary 9-year-old and all of us who are parents
seeing the pictures of her, as a ballet dancer and a little league baseball player and the fact she was just elected to the student council. and she gone an early saturday morning with a neighbor to meet congresswoman giffords, because as the president said, she my be a role model. and christina had her eyes open to the excitement of politics and public service. and the president said, i want us to live up to her expectations. i want our democracy to be as good as she imagined. and to back up and take a slight twist on what charles said, i think that he made a very interesting pivot in the national discourse we've had since saturday. the discourse has been so much about what caused this? the president in effect said, all the finger-pointing, all the point scoring, is beside the point and futile. because we can't know what
caused it. he said the lack of civility didn't cause this tragedy. but only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us live up to our challenges as a nation. and i think that's a much more useful conversation to have. not what caused this crazed, deranged man to do what he did. but what we should do looking forward. i think we all agree civility of discourse, not finger-pointing, but looking for areas, at least of good faith on each other's parts is to the good. i thought it was a very powerful speech. consoling, it had faith, it wasn't brief. >> brit, ending with the christina green reference saying if there are rain puddles in heaven, christina is jumping in them today. is something in the heart strings for americans. >> i have a 9-year-old granddaughter and i couldn't help but think of her throughout all of this.
certainly tonight as he spock so eloquently of her. -- as he spoke so eloquently of her in the course of his discussion about the tone of our discourse he said let's remember it is not because a simple lack of civility causes tragedy. he added, it did not. what was striking was i did not think we were given to believe by the white house that he was not going to get into this area of all that has been said that has proved so corrosive in the aftermath of the events of last weekend. but he did and he did it in a way that i think beyond a reminder that we all need to treat each other with civility. it was almost a rebuke to those who jump to conclusions. i thought that was farther than he would be willing to go. it was people who tend to support him. >> that is dr. reid, the trauma -- that is dr. rhee the trauma surgeon.
>> he's the one that asked was he 100% sure if she would live? he said 101%. >> he's also the doctor that's courted the president around to the patients, including congresswoman giffords as they were in the hospital room with her and her husband mark kelly the astronaut. >> i wanted to add, i think the president prepared this speech in the expectation this would be indeed a memorial service. i think it ended up being nothing of the kind. this was much more of a help lism perhaps that is precisely what the people of tucson and the people of this region needed. >> and wanted. >> and wanted. the audience was in control of the tone of this event. the audience's reaction to the president and earlier speakers. set the tone the president prepared his speech to have a certain tone. i think he would have liked it not to go go on for 36 minutes
but it was interrupted repeatedly by applause but he couldn't help that. >> it is on a college campus. it is in a stadium. but you covered president clinton as he delivered that address in oklahoma city. >> it was a similar hall. the whole tone and atmosphere was different. i kept thinking this week he was going on -- >> a couple of days ago, yet it seems longer, almost as if this event is a little late. certainly the mood in that auditorium suggested the sense of mournfulness that you might have expected and sobriety you might have expected was not to be found tonight. of course the whole thing is attributable in part to the remarkable, blessing that was delivered by what was his name gonzalez who by the time it was over with, he had blessed the reptiles of the sea. he prayed to the four doors of
the building. and while i'm sure that all as an honorable tradition with his people, with it was most peculiar. >> charles going forward from here, what does this event do for the president? does it chain the discourse in the country? is it a seminole moment as it had been built up to be?qq despite chris wallace's preamble and this panel, this evening. what about this in the national element? >> i think it does end the episode we've had for the last three or four days of this rancorous and i think malicious debate. when the president himself says, this is unknowable evil, he quotes job and says stop assigning blame. i think that chapter is over. i think he did it effectively.
and i think for himself in terms of his political support, i think he already was on a rebond. people are -- the -- rebond. the popularity he has, has been rising for the last several weeks. i think the way he seized the moment when he referred to gabby opening her eyes and he brought the audience into that and he became so inspirational. i think emphasizing the innocence and the idealism of the child who died and saying that is the reason we ought to act in a new and civil way, was quite remarkable, extremely effective. and i think you can only conclude that he did exactly what he had to do, in a difficult environment. i think that tone seemed odd and off the key for most of the event, in a situation of sorrow and grief.
yet, he turned it around in a way that i thought was extremely successful. >> chris, what about daniel hernandez? this is a 20-year-old intern. he had only been on-the-job for five days. he's credited with saving congresswoman giffords' life and boy he didn't hold pack in his speech. >> no. he was the only person including the president, father of homeland security and the attorney general who didn't speak with notes and just let it come from the heart. this is a young hispanic man who obviously, is a student there at the university of arizona, but had been a volunteer, an intern who helped save gabrielle giffords' life by holding her so closely he was able to staunch the bleeding and spoke so powerfulfully and rejected the appalachian of being a hero the president said no, i'm sorry you have to live with that, you are a hero and we all consider you that. that was one of the other very
powerful and heartfelt moments in the speech. i go back however to what i said at the beginning not to cast water and dampen this event. it is not a seminole event for the president, for the country. it was a speech and a service, although as i think we all agree, a little bit more of a help rally than any of us expected. life is going to go on. whether it is this next week or the week after, we are going to get back to tough debates on capitol hill and there will be finger-pointing. and there will be point scoring. to a certain degree that's okay. that's what our democracy is about. you hope maybe there will be a little civility. after what we saw after nine left -- after 9/11 and oklahoma city i don't have hope permanent lessons are learned in this country. >> you see people gathered. >> the medical center. >> right, the medical center.
>> right. and a live shot there. that is outside the hospital where congresswoman giffords and several others are recovering from this shooting. brit, you said the white house wasn't going foreshadow, that it want going to be about politics. yet, there was a lot of politics in this in the broad scope. >> there always is. the president of the united states, this is the business he's in. every act he does, whether overtly political or overtly partisan or not has a political quotient. this had one. i think to the the president could have benefited or harmed, he benefits from this because he behaved as some of his partisans have not, with considerable dignity and . as charles pointed out, i think he was caught off guard by the tone of the gathering of the event. and yet managed to adapt to it effectively. and i think at the moment, when the moment came when he
mentioned she gabby had opened her eyes and the cheers cascaded down, he went with it from there. i think he -- i was fine. it was too long as these things always are, almost always are. had it had about it the tone of sobriety and somberness that you associate with a memorial service you could much more easily confine events to a certain time period. it is more difficult when you get a raucous crowd. this was a raucous crowd. there was shouts, sometimes shouts when others weren't cheering there were whistles and whoops and so on. so it turned out to be an uproar event. -- uproarous event. >> i wouldn't underestimate how this will affect the perception of the president. we are the only democracy in with it head of government is also head of state. everyone else separates them.
he's been head of , head of a party two years of extremely ideological debate in the trenches. he doesn't often have a chance to act as head of state. i think he did it in a way this was extremely effective. and it allowed him, i think, to rise above that. we remember the speech in oklahoma which helped to turn around the clinton for tunes, reagan's speech after the shuttle disaster and the speech he gave on the d-day anniversary. these are occasions where the president is head of state. if he rises to it, it overcomes the ideological scars and wounds that a president has as head of government. i'm not sure it will have a on the way he's perceived. >> six people died, 14 wounded. the president talked about their lives. talked about tucson moving on.
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>> bret: finally this evening, there's no question that the world we live from has sped up to the point that it is often hard to keep up. you will hear from many saying they can't catch their breath. last saturday morning a large and diverse group of dedicated americans, people much like your neighbors and mine, got out to have a meet and greet with their local congresswoman. maybe buy groceries or items at the walgreens next door. now some of them will never return home. others are fighting hard in tucson hospitals to make it
home. and the lives of both those who rescued and those who loved them are forever changed. it is one thing for a journal list to focus on the who, what, when and where of all this tragedy. quite another to understand it all. then find the time needed to properly and privately grieve. tonight, we leave you with five days that began with inexplicable horror and ends with the hope of unique american heroes who affirm the better angels of our nature. >> u.s. representative gabrielle give forces of arizona was shot outside a grocery store in tucson. >> what happened was a gentleman came up asked if he
could talk to the congresswoman? i redirected him to the back of the line. came back 30 seconds later and before i knew it he was barging through the tables. >> 10 minutes after 10, a ground man approached and started shooting. congresswoman giffords was shot once in the head. she still alive. >> suspect was a white male, 22-years-old. >> congresswoman in critical condition shot through and through on one side of the head it went through her brain. >> there are 19 victims in this case. >> i ask the people of arizona, i ask the people of america to keep the victims and their families and in their prayers. >> we have six victims who are deceased. among them were a federal judge john roll who has served america's legal system for almost 40 years and a young girl who was barely
9-years-old. >> i can't express devastation, hurt and how we were so robbed of our beautiful princess. >> we made breakfast and she kissed me good-bye and said i love you daddy. she was a fighter. i wish we were able to say good-bye. nobody should have to go through this with their daughter. >> gabe zimmermann was not just a colleague, but a from. his death will leave a gaping hole on the family. >> an attack on our institutions and our way of life. jared lee loughner was subdued by brave, quick thinking individuals at the scene. taken into custody and now federal custody. >> i was at the back of the line, when i heard the shots,
i heard someone say gun. after that happened, i rushed towards where the congresswoman would be. >> her aide was already with her, trying to pick her up off the glass she had fallen back . i helped him turn her he took his arm and cradled her the entire time. >> i ended up picking her up, she was slumped over in a position where she was in danger of swallowing her blood and asphyxiating. i picked her up, propped her up my chest so she could breathe as regularly as you can in that situation. and applied pressure to her wound to try and stem the blood loss. >> it was horrible. blood everywhere, everybody was crying and asking for loved ones and where is the ambulance? people were dying. >> it is devastating. gabby is a from of ours. 19 people we all know people. it is a small city. we have less than a million people here. so we all know everybody. devastating to see gabby as one of our bright stars shot
down like. this. >> i think total sadness that it was so chose to home. i say to my children be safe. when you are out and about, you don't know what is going to happen. >> it is a tragedy. >> i got chills on my arms. it is not right what happen. >> it is actually what you have to do to keep going forward. one foot ahead of the other. you just live your life. but that doesn't take away the sadness. >> our community is in grief. we are in tears. we wonder, how god could allow
such violence to happen to innocent people? christina and john and gabe and phyllis and dorothy. >> the deeper wounds of needless loss of life, severe injury of co-workers and community members and sadness over this act of violence will take much longer to >> our hearts are broken. but our spirit is not. this is a time for the house to lock arms in prayer for the fallen and wounded and a resolve to carry on a dialogue of democracy. >> update is that it is going as pated. we have decreased the amount of sedation we are giving her. as a result, she is becoming more and more spontaneous all the time. >> you feel she has 100%
survival rate? >> 101. >> saturday we all became arizonans. and above all we all became americans. despite the horrific acts that were taken saturday, where so many were lost we saw glimmers of hope. glimmers of hope come from people who are the real heroes. although i appreciate the sentiment, i must humbly reject the use of the word hero, because i am not one. the people who are hero are people like pam simon. congresswoman gabrielle give forces, gabe zimmermann who we lost. ron barber. the first responders. also people people like dr. rhee who have done an amazing job making sure gabby is okay and those who are injured are being treated to